The United States Department of the Treasury today sanctioned the National Development Bank of Venezuela (Bandes), as well as its subsidiaries in Uruguay and Bolivia and local entities Banco de Venezuela and Banco Bicentenario.
According to a statement, the decision was adopted "in response to the illegal arrest" of Roberto Marrero, the head of office of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself interim president of the country in January and is backed by the United States and fifty countries. .
The measure also affects the subsidiaries Bandes Uruguay and Banco Prodem of Bolivia.
Similarly, the measure includes the Bicentennial Bank of the People, the Working Class, Women and Communes, and the Bank of Venezuela, two of the main entities of the Venezuelan financial system.
Bandes, according to the Treasury Department, "owns or controls" these four financial entities.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, quoted in the statement, said that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his facilitators have "distorted the original purpose of the bank, which was founded to help the economic and social welfare of the Venezuelan people. "
"The continued use of the regime of kidnappings, tortures and murders of Venezuelan citizens will not be tolerated by the United States or by the coalition that joins behind President Guaidó, Roberto Marrero and other political prisoners should be released immediately," Mnuchin added.
Marrero was arrested at dawn on Thursday when the Venezuelan Intelligence Service (Sebin) searched his home, and later the Maduro government accused him of leading a terrorist cell that planned to carry out targeted attacks to create "chaos."
In this regard, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, indicated that the US president, Donald Trump, "is committed" to prevent Maduro and "his regime from stealing Venezuela's resources and wealth for their personal benefit, while the people of Venezuela suffer from lack of food, medicine and reliable energy and water. "
"The United States will not tolerate the arrest of peaceful democratic actors, including the democratically elected members of the National Assembly of Venezuela and the Venezuelans who work with the interim president," Guaidó added in a separate statement.
Sanders said sanctioned banks are "used by Maduro and his regime as funds to evade US sanctions and move money out of Venezuela."
He also warned that Washington will continue "taking measures to pressure" Maduro and those who support him "until they get out of the way and allow a democratic transition to take place."
Last February, Guaidó asked Uruguay not to allow the transfer of some 1,000 million dollars, which, he claimed, Maduro's government was trying to do from Bandes to that country.
On Friday, four lawyers asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for protective measures for Marrero, fearing that his integrity is in danger.